Interviews : The Radio Sun – “Radio Sun has definitely got a bit more edge to it” (An interview with Stevie Janevski)
The Radio Sun – Stevie Janevski
The Radio Sun a is Melbourne-based band featuring some stalwarts of the Melbourne scene giving melodic rock the long overdue kick in the ass this town needs. Rising out of the ashes of Square One and featuring Jason Old (vocals & guitar), Stevie Janevski (guitars & vox), Robbie Erdmanis (bass & vox) and Ben Wignall (drums & vox), The Radio Sun really boils down to one thing and one thing only…great musicians making great music in the style that they love. This is a band full of great musicianship and killer songs. With international and national dates booked even before their debut release is out, The Radio Sun is generating quite a buzz in the melodic rock scene and Metal Obsession had the privilege of sitting down and talking all things melodic and rock with guitarist and co-founder of the band Stevie Janevski.
Metal Obsession: The Radio Sun is your new melodic rock band. Having been around the scene for so long and being involved in so many great bands, how did The Radio Sun come along?
Stevie Janevski: It’s something that I’ve liked for years in terms of this style of music. I just like that style. I played guitar in a hard rock band called Cyclone Tracy in the 90’s and in melodic rock and melodic metal bands over the past decade. Jason (vocals) and Ben (drums) are from my old band Square One.
Really, it was just a long time between albums with the last record coming out in 2005 and we just thought it was time to move along and do something again. We just said “let’s just do what we want to do” but probably this time with a little more edge to it. With Square One we were trying to get signed in Australia, whereas with The Radio Sun we’re just making the music we’d like to hear ourselves and pleasing ourselves first and foremost. The emphasis is on good songs, with hooks and plenty of guitar and solos. Hence, this time around we’re more world focused. There’s plenty of interest from other places around the world, so if it means we need to go outside of Australia to get appreciation, then so be it!
MO: That’s the thing though. Australia really isn’t interested in melodic rock full stop which is a shame. You go to the late 80’s and 90’s when you had bands like D’Mont out of Sydney, Roxus out of Melbourne.
SJ: Even since then we’ve had some great bands, but yeah it’s frustrating. Bands like Roxus and BB Steal are huge faves of mine. I’m still a big fan of both of them and love their debut albums from back in the day. However, that was a long time ago. And there’s been a big void in the scene since then. We’re excited about our new album and we’re looking forward to representing Australia overseas at festivals such as Melodic Rock fest 3. Our sound is based on the melodic rock we grew up with – melodic guitar driven rock. We’ve refined our sound. The big vocal harmonies are there but so are the guitars and solos.
MO: You can definitely hear that though. I’ve only heard the demo of a song you posted on your Facebook and by pure coincidence when I was going through some old cd’s and tidying up the basement at home a few days later I came across the old Square One cd and thought I’d have a listen just to compare the two and The Radio Sun really does sound a lot more mature and heavier to me.
SJ: Yeah The Radio Sun has definitely got a bit more edge to it which is funny because when I listen back to some of the songs that are almost fully mixed you can definitely hear that these songs have more to them. I don’t mean heavier in the Black Majesty kind of way, but just more guitar based and more melodic. Really though, we are just enjoying writing songs without having to worry if the guitar is too loud in the mix or if the solos are tame enough. Like I said before, we are doing this for ourselves now. If we can get picked up by a melodic rock label, bonus!…because that’s kind of what eventuated with the other band eventually anyway funnily enough. We kind of had interest from the more melodic rock sort of labels because the Australian major labels didn’t really care.
MO: Speaking of labels, have you had much interest on that front. Obviously the record isn’t out yet, but have you tested the waters?
SJ: Well, with the album being produced by Paul Laine (Danger Danger, Shugaazer, solo) that has already created a bit of interest. There’s a good buzz on this, but to tell you the truth we haven’t really played it to people yet. The only reason we put a few demos and sample up on our facebook page was because people were hassling me (laughs) just to put something on there to listen to.
(Stevie then played 2 songs off the new The Radio Sun record “Wrong Things Right”and “World’s Crazy Now”)
MO: That was very cool! That first song “Wrong Things Right” reminded me a lot of the latest Mr. Big album which I love.
SJ: Really? Cool. At the end of the day you really work with what you’ve got. In this band our singer Jason has got that kind of style to his voice so if you hear a bit of Mr. Big in there, we’ll take it as a huge compliment. In this band, our drummer Ben and bassist Robbie are also great singers which means that we can really pull off the backing vocals live and get the harmonies sounding quite big – which is a big part of what we do. We all sing so there’s no backing vocal tapes in this band.
MO: So you have a bassist now? When I last looked a few months ago it was a 3-piece and I wondered what was going to happen with live gigs and bass players.
SJ: There wasn’t a bass player in the beginning but Robbie (bass) has been with us a few months now and its working out really good. He’s a really good player and a good singer too which really helps. We always said we were going to get a bass player that could sing. It wasn’t an option. Even when we put the feelers out and people were interested we’d ask them “can you sing?”. If they said no, then we just kept looking until we found the right person because we wanted people that could sing to really pull this off. Robbie has been a real asset to us since joining the band!
MO: A big event on The Radio Sun’s calendar for 2013 is that Melodicrock Fest 3 over in the United States in September. How did all that come about? Did you approach the promoters or did they get in touch with you?
SJ: Well, kind of a bit of both actually. Andrew is an Aussie and he liked “Square One” and we’d been talking for ages. I just suggested to him that we were working on this new thing “The Radio Sun” and if he was interested in having the band a part of it. He has been really supportive of us and we’re happy to be representing Australia at MRF3. In many ways the festival will be our first chance for us to showcase the band worldwide. That’s why we’re doing an acoustic show on the Friday and electric show on the Saturday of the festival. Also, being a little bit selfish we were like …“first up we’ll do our live shows and then get to see all the other great bands on the bill which is awesome” Bands like Harem Scarem, Eric Martin, WET, Eclipse, House of Lords…the list goes on! We’re really buzzed about this! We’re excited about it because for us, it’s going to be the first time people are really going to hear the band live and (with luck) the cd will be all finished by then and we can shop the cd around. We’re just really keen to get out there.
MO: Paul Laine is producing this record which is an excellent choice. How did you manage to get him involved in this project?
SJ: We pretty much booked the Melodicrock Fest 3 gigs and secured Paul Laine as producer around the same time. I contacted Paul Laine and he was keen on the songs and got involved in mixing / producing it. He’s been really cool in terms of just helping us out and being really open and suggesting new idea. Paul’s worked with people like Bruce Fairbairn on his first solo album so he’s picked up a lot of things along the way. I was actually friends with Paul before he got involved so we developed a friendship before he committed to working with us.
MO: He’s been involved in so many fantastic albums in the past when you think about it.
SJ: It’s funny. I don’t think many people realise just how much work he’s done, as a singer and particularly with backing vocals. He’s sung and worked on everything from Danger Danger, Poison, through to to Taylor Swift – much to my daughters happiness!
MO: I’m guessing from there, this whole Australian tour thing in December just evolved?
SJ: Yeah, we were just talking and we both kind of suggested the double-bill thing. I said it was his gig so it shouldn’t really be a double-bill thing because obviously we’re all fans of his so he was like “man, ok you guys be the back-up band!” Early ticket sales for the shows have been quite promising, particularly in Melbourne which is great! I hope Aussie fans of melodic rock really support these shows, particularly because we’ve kept the price of admission really low to encourage a good turnout. It’s definitely going to be quite special to hear Paul Laine sing in Australia and perform songs from his solo albums, Shugaazer cd and Danger Danger catalogue.
MO: So how does that all work out then? You guys come out and do your own set and then suit up for a double-shift with Paul?
SJ: Yeah we’ll do our own set, then Jase our lead singer will jump onto guitar with me and Paul will come out and sing. There’s no set list as yet but I’ve been going through and familiarizing myself with some of the old Danger Danger stuff and let me tell you, some of that Andy Timmons guitar stuff is crazy! I’m really looking forward to it though. It’s a good challenge and it’s going to be a heap of fun. It’s also a good way to sort of launch The Radio Sun in Australia too. Paul is so cool to work with though. He’s just so laid back and even with the setlist he’d be like “oh yeah let’s do this song and we HAVE to do that song”. And with The Radio Sun album he’s always suggesting new things to try and I like that. It’s just so easy working with him. When I listen to the songs he’s mixed so far I can kind of hear the little Paul Laine influences and bits in there which I think is really cool.
MO: So with The Radio Sun, where are we at with it in terms of release dates?
SJ: Right now it’s getting mixed so it’s probably a few months or so away before it’s finished. Paul’s got all of the tracks so he’s just working through it. We said to him that if he’s got stuff on then there’s no massive rush so for him to take his time. I think we should definitely have it all done and finished by the time we go over to the Melodicrock Fest in Chicago so we might have some samplers for people or something like that there. The big focus for us is obviously Japan and then the European and American labels.
MO: The Radio Sun and Square One really highlight a different side to you musically compared to Black Majesty. Who are some of your influences in terms of melodic rock?
SJ: Obviously I’m a big metal head – with Judas Priest and Dio being my all time faves but it’s quite weird because I also love melodic rock bands like Mr Big but for me there are some songs of theirs which are awesome and stand out and others are just thereabouts so it really comes down to consistency. I LOVE classic Dokken, but when people ask me for my top 5 album albums of all time then Dokken may not be in there as an entire album. Going back to it though when I was a kid obviously Dokken and George Lynch were a huge influence. Skid Row was probably my favourite hard rock band at the time too. Then it goes down to people like Rick Springfield, Van Halen, TNT and Danger Danger.
MO: That last Rick Springfield album was awesome. Probably my album of the year last year to be honest. Love that disc!
SJ: How good was it! His last few albums have been great. He just keeps getting better. Again, he’s just one of those artists that has got it. For me, his direction and what he does, I love it. For melodic rock I love what he does. I also like the Marvelous 3 (Butch Walker’s old band), Harem Scarem is another one – I’m really looking forward to seeing them at MRF3. And how could I forget Def Leppard! – one of my other all time fave bands! Hysteria and Pyromania are probably in my top 5 albums of all time. The first Paul Stanley solo album was also a big influence in getting me into this style of music.
MO: It will be interesting to see people’s reaction to The Radio Sun. I think melodic rock is making a comeback of sorts these last few years.
SJ: Yeah I agree, but like I said before, this time around we are really doing this for ourselves and not really going for the commercial hit or label recognition here. We’re just making the music we like to listen to because we love the style of music. It really was just time to do it.
It’s really like a new start. We have a new name and this band has a bit of a different vibe to the old band in terms of it having a bit more edge and a lot more guitars on there.
MO: We spoke about the live dates as part of the Melodicrock Fest and the December gigs, but is there anything else planned for Australia at this stage?
SJ: Well, we’re thinking about if we can play a show before we go overseas. We may try and get one in. If not, then we’ll definitely do a bit of launch for the album when we back. Again, we’ve all played in bands for year so it’s not a case of people getting nervous or anything like that. It’s more to get out there and work as a unit!
People can get in touch with The Radio Sun at www.facebook.com/theradiosun or see the band live at :
September 27th – 29th MelodicRockFest 3 at H.O.M.E Bar, Chicago, USA *acoustic & electric showcases.
December 3rd – supporting Paul Laine at Cherry Bar, Melbourne, Australia
December 5th – supporting Paul Laine at Valve Bar & Venue, Sydney, Australia
About MetallinickNick is a dedicated and lifelong metal / rock fan ever since he heard Kiss Alive when it first came out. His tastes extend from anything and everything from AOR, to power metal, to thrash, to death, to progressive rock / metal, to melodic rock. Chances are if the band exists....Nick knows of them! (some might say he's metal obsessed).
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